Trick Play Helps Pitt Upset No. 15 UCF 35-34

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September 22, 2019

The Associated Press
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) celebrates with teammates after he caught a pass for a touchdown against Central Florida during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

UCF’s hopes of another undefeated season was crushed by a last second play by the Pitt Panthers.

Pitt trailing 15th-ranked UCF by six and a minute to go. Facing fourth-and-2 at the UCF 3. Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Mark Whipple installed the play he dubbed “Pitt Special” during the second week of training camp.

Whipple had his first-stringers run it once against the starting defense and it worked. So he made sure the Panthers practiced it during Thursday during practice and tucked it away just in case.

Running back A.J. Davis took a direct snap from center, ran to his left and flipped the ball to Aaron Mathews, who was heading right. Matthews, a former high school quarterback, thought he might have to make a run at the pylon. When two UCF defenders closed in, Mathews pulled up and found quarterback Kenny Pickett in the end zone, giving the Panthers a euphoric 35-34 victory.

The play borrowed heavily from the “Philly Special” run by the Philadelphia Eagles in their Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots two seasons ago. The Panthers put their own spin on it.

UCF had won 27 of its last 28 overall, including the Knights’ American Athletic Conference championship game victories the last two years along with their Fiesta Bowl loss to LSU last year.

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